Team reaction after the Turkish GP (part 2)
Sauber, Toro Rosso, Williams, Virgin Racing, HRT F1 & Lotus
Finally both cars finished a race, and the first championship point was scored. At the Turkish Grand Prix Kamui Kobayashi came in tenth, and Pedro de la Rosa took the chequered flag right behind his team mate in 11th.
Kamui Kobayashi: “I am very happy that we finished the race with both cars and got the first point. I had a good start, although I was on the dirty side of the track, and the pace of the car in the beginning was good. Our race strategy was not easy. The car was better on the harder tyre compound, therefore we did a very short first stint on the softer ones. I pitted after ten laps and drove the rest of the race with the same set of tyres. In the end I could see from the car the canvas on the front right tyre. Therefore I started to be very careful, especially in turn 8, and that’s also the reason why I didn’t defend any harder against Adrian Sutil.“
Pedro de la Rosa: “With the high fuel level I had a lot of understeer in the beginning of the race, so I paced myself waiting for my chances to come later in the race. The lighter the car became the better the balance was. The front end came back and I had no problems with the tyres. Certainly I would have been fighting at the end if it hadn’t been my team mate in front of me. Our team needed desperately to bring both cars home and score this point. You have to be careful taking risks and
this was not the time to attack and risk losing everything. It is better this point stays with us rather then going somewhere else. We finished this race being competitive and this is very good.“
Peter Sauber, Team Principal:
“Looking at the whole weekend it’s clear we were able to confirm the upward trend which we saw in Barcelona. Of course we were lucky in the race, but we finished with both cars and finally scored a well deserved championship point.”
James Key, Technical Director: “I’m very pleased we scored a point at this event. It was also good that we had a two car finish. It was fairly eventful in many ways, because, to begin with, it was a case of making sure we were matching the top ten pace, which Kamui did superbly well. He stayed very close behind Fernando Alonso. On the strategy side of things, we decided to bring the cars in early, and particularly Kamui given his tyres were several laps old after doing Q3 with a used set of tyres.
That seemed to be the right call. Unfortunately he was held up slightly at his pit stop, which cost him two seconds. Without that he could have been further ahead. Towards the end Kamui’s tyres went off quite badly at the front, and he lost quite a lot of lap time, which allowed Pedro and some other cars to catch him up. But the fact is both came home in tenth and 11th. I think this is deserved by everyone and we should be very pleased with this result.”
Toro Rosso Ferrari
Jaime Alguersuari: “I believe we can be satisfied with our result, as I don’t think I could have done better from where I started. The decision to make two stops for tyres was the correct one, so that I could attack De La Rosa and Kobayashi at the end. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite do it in the number of laps remaining, but this has been an encouraging weekend and I really hope we can again push in Canada, getting back to scoring points again."
Sebastien Buemi: “The start was good, but then De La Rosa made a poor exit to Turn 2 so going into Turn 3 I tried to go round him on the outside. But I went a bit wide and when I came back onto the track, Hulkenberg got past me and as I tried to retake him at Turn 7 on the outside, I think he might have lost the front end of the car and he clipped my right rear, which punctured the tyre and I had to pit immediately. After that, my race pace was not too bad, considering there was quite a bit of damage to the rear of the car, which meant I had a lot less downforce. I had a good fight, but I am a bit disappointed, so now I am just looking forward to the next race.”
Franz Tost: “As we have seen in past races, our performance on Sunday is much better than in qualifying and today yet again, both our drivers had good race pace. So we now need to concentrate on transferring that good level to qualifying, as your race is won or lost dependent on your grid position. It’s difficult to score points when you start from far back. The team did a good job in terms of our tactics: unlike the majority, we started on the Prime tyre, as we expected the Option to struggle in the early laps. In the second stint, the Option did indeed bring a better pace. In the later stages, we saw that although Alguersuari was close to De La Rosa, he could not pass him and, as Liuzzi was around 19 seconds behind, we called him for another tyre change and if the race had been one or two laps longer, Jaime could have got the Saubers and scored a point. Unfortunately, Buemi had a collision with Hulkenberg on the opening lap. The Williams front wing clipped Seb’s right rear wheel and after pitting for new tyres, he went out again with a damaged floor and parts missing from the right rear brake duct. Nevertheless, he did quite good lap times for the rest of the race.”
Poor starts contributed to a mid-field race for the AT&T Williams team at Turkey’s Istanbul Park circuit today. A mechanical issue dropped Rubens Barrichello from 15th on the grid down to 20th, from where he pushed hard throughout the race to recover to 14th. Nico Hulkenberg picked up a front puncture in the opening lap, the consequent stop bringing him out to fight from 23rd position. In the remaining laps, Nico worked his way up to P17 to conclude the race from where he started.
Rubens Barrichello: I had a problem with the clutch at the start which is a shame because it’s been fine all weekend so we will have to investigate that. We pitted earlier than we had originally planned because our pace was better than the cars in front. Our stop was quite slow because we had a problem with the front wheel. Later on, I then had an issue with the throttle. Our overall race pace wasn’t too bad but we need to resolve these issues that we are having.
Nico Hulkenberg: It hasn’t been a good weekend for us and our race pace wasn’t good enough today. I also had an incident on the first lap which meant I had to pit early. We have to keep working hard to find more performance.
Sam Michael, Technical Director: We finished roughly where we qualified today. Rubens had a problem with anti-stall off the start, it
wasn’t a driver issue. Shortly after his pitstop, he then had a throttle control problem which dropped him back down the order again. The problem reduced so he was able to continue the race, but we’ll be stripping the car down to identify what caused it. Nico came together with another car on the opening lap which damaged his front wheel. That forced him into a premature pitstop, so the rest of his race was consumed with tyre management. For the forthcoming events, our objective will be
achieving better qualifying and race performance.
Virgin Racing Cosworth
Istanbul Park Circuit delivered a spectacular Turkish Grand Prix today, in which Virgin Racing emerged as the best of the new teams once again.
It was a race in which Virgin Racing defied all the odds after a new engine issue surfaced on Lucas’ car - this time with the engine oil system - with just an hour to spare before the race. The turnaround, including removing the engine from the back of the car, was an incredible feat of teamwork, delivering Lucas out on track from the pit lane seconds after the lights went green.
Timo lost a place on the opening lap to Senna following a poor start which compromised the early part of his race. He retook the position and his race was running relatively smoothly car until he experienced low hydraulic pressure with just five laps to spare. This should have put an end to his race, but he battled on with just 5th gear at his disposal and a complete loss of hydraulic pressure, to cement a well-deserved two-car finish. Timo and Lucas ended the race in 18th and 19th positions respectively.
Timo Glock: “It was a tough race for the team today so it was great for us to get both cars to the chequered flag and take some reward for all the hard work that has gone into this weekend. The start was disappointing for me because we stalled on the grid, which enabled Senna to pass me. I was stuck behind him for the first 18 laps and just couldn’t get close enough to overtake him but then I got him in turn 12. From that point on I could go quite a bit quicker and had a better race. We had a good pitstop and on the option tyre the car felt okay and we had reasonable speed. Unfortunately, five laps from the end, I felt a drop in the power steering assist and the team advised me to stay in fifth gear in order to finish the race. But it’s good that we managed to keep the car going and end the day as the best new team.”
Lucas di Grassi: “We have had a lot of problems during this weekend, especially regarding the engine, but we achieved our target of getting both cars to the finish and ending the weekend as the best of the new teams. We demonstrated once again that our reliability is improving and what we need to do now is focus on improving the car so that we can be faster and consistently be the best new team at every race.”
John Booth, Team Principal: “To finish the race with both cars and as the best of the new teams is a fantastic reward for the whole team, who’ve worked incredibly hard all weekend to contend with the various issues that cropped up. After the power loss issue with the engine yesterday, the very last thing we needed just an hour before the race was an issue with the engine oil system, which had us taking the car to pieces to get to the engine when we would have been in the final throes of our race countdown. On one side of the garage we were calmly executing the grid sequence with Timo, but it was quite a different story on the other side of the garage where the guys were faced with the seemingly impossible odds to get Lucas’ car together and out into the race. They were an absolute credit to us today.”
Nick Wirth, Technical Director: “A great reward for the team today after a very stressful pre-race build-up on Lucas’ car. We had been forced to change Lucas’ engine last night after he experienced a large power loss on Saturday that severely compromised his qualifying, and with the Parc Ferme rules, it was only today that we could test the new engine, which exhibited a last-minute oil-system issue.
“Timo’s race started badly with an anti-stall on the start, which ultimately compromised his race until he got some clean air at about one third distance. Once things settled down, he started setting some lap times that confirm our general progress - his fastest lap time was only 2.3 seconds slower than the race winner’s best lap and comfortably faster than any of the other new teams. Sadly, he experienced a drop in hydraulic pressure near the end, but as we were so far ahead of any of our direct rivals by then, we played it safe and asked him to stay in 5th gear for the last few laps.
“Both drivers did a good job in challenging circumstances, as did the whole team, and to get our second 2-car finish of the year is a great feeling, as the more reliability we get, the more performance we can add in the forthcoming races.”
HRT F1 Cosworth
It was an eventful Turkish Grand Prix with sudden rain announced briefly during the race.
The drivers of Hispania Racing, HRT F1 Team, could close the gap to the other teams and did a great race before they had to retire. The performance of Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna was good and they could fight for positions with other teams. Unfortunately, in lap 47 Bruno Senna had to retire from a strong race following a problem with the fuel system. His team-mate Karun who was battling for 19th position was classified in 20th. The Spanish team’s attention now turns to the Canadian Grand Prix where the team hopes to have better luck.
Dr. Colin Kolles, Team Principal: “It was a difficult race for us. We were running well and making good progress, gaining good experience. It was disappointing to have one car retire on a fuel system problem and Karun Chandhok not finish higher than 20th. We now look ahead to the next race in Canada.”
Karun Chandhok: “It is a bit frustrating to be classified not higher than 20th. In the first stint I was struggling with the pace compared to Bruno’s and the Virgins’. But as we changed to the options tyres the pace came back. Early in the race, the fuel pump failed and I was struggling today for straight line speed. Unfortunately, I finished my race five laps before the chequered flag in the pits.”
Bruno Senna: “I had a pretty good race today. The start was good and I could win some positions. Also the first laps were quite good. At the end I had a problem with the fuel system and that’s why I had to retire. During the race, we were a bit unlucky with traffic as we were ahead of both Virgins. It is sad the we had a fuel pressure problem that caused us to end our race prematurely. But we are on top of it and hopefully we can get it sorted. I had a fair battle with Lucas Di Grassi as we had a faster car than Virgin and hopefully we can have another fight for positions soon.”
Lotus Racing were having one of their best days of the season until a double hydraulics failure brought both Jarno and Heikki’s races to an end on laps 32 and 33 respectively, Jarno coming to a halt on track and Heikki retiring in the pit.
Jarno Trulli: “It was difficult at the beginning with the hard tyres, and the team were telling me Heikki was quicker on the options, and as he was on a different strategy he got past. Afterwards, I was pulling away from our competitors comfortably, but the failure put an end to the good race I was having. “
Heikki Kovalainen: “What a shame. I lost power steering in turn eight and it looks like it was a hydraulics failure. At first I thought I had a puncture as the steering suddenly felt really strange, but then I lost the gearbox, the clutch, and throttle. It’s so unfortunate as this was our strongest race so far. I was on the softer tyre and although I wasn’t sure how they would run at the beginning of the race, they did in fact hang on really well. I can’t help but feel disappointed, but as I’ve said before these things happen, and we will work through this, and come out stronger as a result.
“We’re only a few tenths off the other teams per kilometre, and we know the areas to work on to improve this car. I’m confident we can make a very big step for next year and for now, we’ll move on and put this behind us.”
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “Obviously very disappointing to have two cars go out on the same lap when we were having such a strong race, our strongest performance all year. We started the cars with Jarno on the harder tyre, and Heikki on the soft – Heikki was slightly quicker on the option to start with, but towards the end of the stint Jarno was catching him. We were hanging on for the pitstops, monitoring the rain situation, but then had sudden hydraulic failures on both cars. Heikki’s was a leak from the power steering, and with Jarno we don’t know as yet what the specific issue was. Despite that we have to keep our chins up after what was a really strong weekend from the whole team, fix these problems and move on. ”
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: “This looked like it was going to be a great weekend for us so it’s obviously very disappointing to have it all brought to an end in such a fashion, after what was probably our best race so far. Jarno and Heikki should be very proud of the times they put in, and the whole team should be pleased with how far we’ve come. This is a low but to be champions we have to deal with the lows, learn from them and move on. It all reminds me of the early days of AirAsia, but we have just been awarded the title of world’s best low cost airline for the second year running, so I know we can repeat that with this team, and one day be victorious. Onwards and upwards, and now we’ll focus on Montreal.”